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As a stay-at-home parent, you likely have some spare time on your hands – like when the chores are done (at least for now) and the kids are off at school. Why not put it to good use by starting your own business? Being your own boss isn’t as hard as you think, and it can be quite lucrative. Did we mention it can be enjoyable and meaningful too? 

In this mini-guide, New York Dog Nanny offers some advice (and encouragement) on launching pet and non-pet-related businesses when you’re a stay-at-home parent: 

Launching a Business in the Pet Services Industry

If you love animals, you should consider launching a pet-services business. As you’re likely aware, for many people, their pets are like children. And people don’t think twice about splurging on their kids. You could carve out a comfortable living for yourself catering to their needs. Furthermore, most of the time, you won’t need qualifications either. 

The numbers bear this out – the pet service industry is booming, reports APPA, climbing from a $90.5 billion market valuation in 2018 to $103.6 billion in 2020. 

Below are some in-demand services to consider: 

  • Pet sitting: Pet sitting is like daycare for pets – you take care of people’s pets when they can’t. Usually, you’ll be staying at the client’s home to pet-sit for a few hours at a time. Pet sitters make an average of $12.62 per hour, which is nothing to sneeze at.     
  • Dog walking: Dog walking is a great way to make money and get some exercise at the same time. You can pull in anywhere from $9.78 to $27.28 per hour doing this.  
  • Grooming: Grooming requires more skill, usually a certification, and sometimes a license. But, proportionally, it pays more – $29 per hour or more. 

Non-Pet-Related Industries 

Of course, if you don’t think you’re cut out for the pet services industry, there are other avenues open to you. You could launch a one-person service-based operation from your home office – it would be an easy, low-intensity to make money. A traditional small business, with a handful of other people, is also an option. It would be harder, but potentially more profitable. 

We offer some non-e-commerce small business ideas below: 

  • Tutoring: Tutoring kids or adults – both online and offline – can make you a great deal of money. You just need to be better-than-average at a particular subject. You’ll groom your mind and learn something too.   
  • Home catering: Home caterers make food from their home kitchens for events like parties and corporate meet-ups. If you’re good at cooking, this can be lucrative. 
  • Daycare: You’re a parent already, which gives you a great deal of experience with kids. Running a daycare should be a walk in the park for you. There are some rules and regulations to follow, but it’s not hard.  

Getting Your Business Off The Ground 

After you’ve settled on an industry, it’s time to actualize your ideas. Come up with a plan of action, gather up some seed money, and launch. We cover the most important steps to getting your business up and running here: 

Create a Business Plan 

The business plan is a formal document that goes into specifics about your business, from operations and market research to logistics and funding – and everything in between. Having a plan will give you the clarity you need to kick off, achieve your business goals, and navigate challenges.  

Acquire The Business Skills You Need

You may find that you need a skill or two to do business more effectively. It will be a bit of a time (and money) investment, but it should pay for itself. A convenient way to get more skilled is pursuing an online business degree. It allows you to develop your business acumen conveniently in your spare time, while still letting you look after your kids. Some program choices you could pursue are business management, leadership, and marketing. 

Find Funding 

Small, home-based businesses aren’t expensive to launch – typically costing $2,000 to $5,000. The SBA offers a handy calculation tool for you to use. You can fund your business through your own savings, loans, grants, or asking friends and family for assistance.  

Take Care of The Legalities 

Having a formal business structure is a good idea.  For example, establishing an LLC helps you stay more organized, comes with tax perks, and protects your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. Depending on what you’ll be doing, you may also be required to name, register, and license your business.

Set Up a Quiet Workspace at Home 

Working from home is not as easy as it sounds – especially when you have kids. Kids can be a handful and don’t always respect boundaries. Set up a workspace in a secluded corner, if possible. It will help you to concentrate and be more productive. 

Prioritize and Schedule 

You’ll be juggling parental as well as business duties. Make sure you allocate your time properly and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Time management skills like prioritization, scheduling, and delegation will stand you in good stead. 

Market Your Services 

Marketing is critical. Research effective marketing strategies in your niche, and create and implement a solid marketing plan. Keep in mind that not all marketing endeavors will bear the same results. Calculate the marketing ROI for everything before you proceed. 

Set Up a Convenient Payment System 

Don’t underestimate the importance of a convenient payment system. If you’re not offering app or website payments, for example, you may be turning away some paying customers. Setting up a POS system to allow customers to submit payments or make purchases online can be worthwhile. You can use Plaid’s Auth API to safely authenticate customer bank accounts. You (and your customers) will be able to have peace of mind and enjoy safer transactions. 


While it’s a pleasure and, if you think about it, a privilege to stay at home to look after your kids, you may still feel the absence of a career and work-life keenly. By launching your own business, you can fill this void in your life, spend your time more meaningfully, and even give your family a better life.  

Image via Unsplash

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